Friday, February 12, 2010

Wrapping up and Heading home!

I had grand ambitions to put together another video for you guys but it looks like that just isn't going to happen. Time kind of ran out on us and when I was going to work on the video I chose to just sleep instead. I'm not sure I've ever been this tired... not so much physically but emotionally it has been an incredibly draining week. We are ready to come home.

Friday was an incredibly emotional day. Things started out easy enough... we took a trip to the lovely Taipei Zoo and even though there was a light rain for most of the day we had a great time. The zoo here is just beautiful and we were able to see a lot of animals you don't see very often in the states including koalas, pandas, and some very unusual monkeys.

After we left the zoo we had arranged for a return visit to the Harmony Home orphanage where Claire had lived for the first 18 months of her life. They had asked us if we could bring her by and allow them to say goodbye to her. Someday maybe we'll look back on it and think it was a good idea but right now, it feels like our first major adoptive parenting mistake.

Claire absolutely flipped out when we first got there... she was just inconsolable... she obviously thought we were leaving her again and we were about to just leave and get her out of there. Then the wonderful woman who founded Harmony Home (Nicole) arrived and Claire immediately recognized her and calmed down. At this point she was able to slowly begin to enjoy her visit. The problem was, over the course of the next hour, she began to call Nicole "mama" and began to ignore Jessica and I.

We knew we were going to be in for it when it was time to go. Fortunately Nicole and Hana were kind enough to give us a ride back to our hotel but sure enough when we took Claire inside and Hana and Nicole didn't follow, she lost it again. We thought we were in for a long night of crying, similar to our first day together, but fortunately she was able to calm down pretty quickly. Within 30 minutes or so she seemed to be back to her normal happy self.

So like I said... on one hand I'm glad that the people who loved Claire for so long (and they obviously just adored her there... one worker tried to get us to trade Claire for a newborn and I'm pretty sure she was serious) had a chance to say goodbye to her. I'm also glad that Claire had one last chance to see her friends... a couple of the children she obviously remembered and it was sweet to see her interact with them. One little girl Claire especially loved... she hugged her several times.

On the other hand, we feel guilty for putting her through the confusion. This has been such a challenging week for her and even though most of the time she is happy, her little world is upside down and we know she is still grieving. To put her in such an emotionally confusing situation without the words to comfort her... I just don't know. There's nothing we can do about it now I guess so I'm not sure what else there is to say.

One kind of cool thing from our return to Harmony Home: We met an American woman who is living in Taiwan right now who adopted a two and a half year old little boy. He lived there at Harmony Home with Claire the entire time she was there and apparently they were good friends. The family is moving back to the US from Taiwan this summer. They live in Pennsylvania but we exchanged information in hopes of keeping in touch. It's pretty cool to think that one of Claire's first playmates will be growing up not too far away from her. Hopefully we can get them together again someday.

It's 7:30 in the morning on Saturday here in Taiwan and our flight leaves tonight at 11:30 pm. Our hotel was gracious enough to give us a 4:00 pm checkout time and I'm thinking it will take every bit of that to get all this stuff packed up. We have an insane amount of luggage... oh my goodness you guys would not even believe it. We were packed completely full on the way here and now we've got another child and all of the clothes she came with to add to the mix. We might have to go buy another bag today somewhere. I'm not even kidding... it's crazy!

We'll certainly keep this blog going for awhile after we get home. There is obviously a lot more of this story to tell. For now though, we're signing off from Taiwan. We are so grateful to all of you who followed along on our journey while we were here. The comments and emails meant a lot to us and it was great to have a connection to home while we were so far away. We were humbled by the incredible amount of prayer and support we had while we were here. Thank you for coming alongside us and experiencing this great joy with our family. We are grateful.

We leave Taiwan at 11:30 pm local time Saturday night. We'll arrive in San Francisco at 9:30 pm Eastern time Saturday night (yes, we're going back in time. Instead of a plane, we're taking a DeLorian) and then we leave for Atlanta at 1:30 AM. We arrive at 6:30 Sunday morning and after a 3 hour layover takeoff for Knoxville at 9:30 with a scheduled arrival of 10:50. We hear there's snow so we're praying that won't be an issue.

That's all for now... See you guys when we get back home.


Anonymous said...

We cannot wait to see you! Praying for a safe, peaceful trip home- with no snow delays. :)(Although, we may be snowed in here in SC. Planning to get to Knoxville tomorrow afternoon, but we'll see...)We love you all!


Robin said...

Have a safe trip home!

cook2china said...

Praying for a safe and uneventful flight or should I say flights home. As of Sat. morning there is no snow in Knoxville so you should be o.k. in regards to home. Not sure about the other part of your flights. Looking forward to meeting Claire in the next few weeks. Emma Grace has enjoyed watching Claire on the videos with me. Praying for you!
The Cook family

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled that you are on your way home. I loved checking your blog each day of your journey. Thanks for taking the time to keep us all informed. Can't wait to meet Claire!
Jessica S.

Anonymous said...

We have enjoyed following along on your journey these past two weeks. We too are praying for uneventful travel home and that Claire will easily adapt to the travel. Looking forward to meeting Claire!

The Dodges

Anonymous said...

Praying for a safe and peaceful trip home. Have enjoyed the blog so much and look forward to seeing all of you at Powell Church soon.

Shelva Bostick

halcombk said...

So very excited to hear your journey home is nearly complete! You all have certainly been blessed and no doubt have many more blessed moments to share in the future. My prayers are with you for a safe and speedy trip home. -Karla

Erin Ly said...

Hi! I'm from the yahoo group (we adopted our daughter over 3 years ago), and I've been following your amazing journey. You've really soaked up your time in Taiwan wonderfully, and I've enjoyed reading about it. As far as knowing what was right with the visit back to see her caregivers, feel peace in knowing that Claire was so loved there and that, whatever confusion and fear she felt, she is learning that YOU will be there for her through it. From your blog, it seems like your family will do a great job with the healing road ahead for this beautiful little girl. Have safe travels.

Dunns said...

I hope all going well with guys, and you're adjusting well. I don't if you're experiencing the time change adjustment, and NO one ever talk about how draining this would be on the forums when you returned home with your child. It lasted for 2 weeks, thank God! We all had our days & nights mix up...hang in there it will not last forever:)

Welcome home with precious daughter!
The Dunns

Annie said...

Thank you for this post. It is helpful to learn what we might expect when our time comes. I can just imagine Claire's confusion at the visit to Harmony Home, but I can see the love you all are showering on her and her heart will heal from these events quickly. Blessings!